Jan 092011

Arsenal 1 (Fabregas pen 90) Leeds (Snodgrass pen 54)
(FA Cup 3rd Round)

Two legs of a Carling Cup semi-final with Ipswich, a replay against Leeds as a result of this draw, and a home tie with Huddersfield in we progress. In each of those games, many of these squad players (or reserves, depending on your point of view) will again feature, and if they play as poorly as they did yesterday, we might find ourselves suffering an embarrassing and costly cup defeat somewhere along the line. More than one has been unhappy at being out of the team of late, but the performances of the majority yesterday largely justified Wenger’s recent selections.

We did create quite a few chances, but so does everyone against Leeds – their defence has been pitiful this season yet we made them look assured. When the opportunities did come, our finishing was anything but clinical, ranging from players lacking in confidence (Arshavin) to those brimming with it (Bendtner). Neither did their claims for a place in the team any good, although at least both gave it their all, which made some of the fan reaction all the more unsavoury, groaning every time Arshavin in particular made a mistake. I know he’s on poor form, but he is trying to work his way out of it, and getting on his back isn’t going to help. I get that he’s a frustrating player, but I do wonder if some reactions are a hindrance rather than a help.

While we were frustrating going forward, we were actually pretty decent at the back, particularly the assured Djourou, who continued his rapid improvement of recent times. Leeds barely threatened in the first half, but were gifted a penalty in the second when Denilson lazily hung a leg at Gradel, who went over. It was a truly stupid challenge, and one that made no sense whatsoever – if you are going to challenge, do it properly. Hanging a leg isn’t going to win the ball, and invites the player to tumble and win the spot kick. It isn’t the first time Denilson’s been guilty of this sort of thing, and while he is a more useful player than many give him credit for, he really has to cut out his brain farts which are so often costly.

The goal lifted Leeds, and Szczesny was forced into a terrific save from Becchio’s header soon after. It would prove to be a key moment. As the minutes ticked away, Wenger played his cards, bringing on Cesc, Walcott and Vela, and while the Mexican was inevitably anonymous, the former two combined for the late leveller. Moments after Walcott claimed a penalty and was denied, he was awarded one after Parker pulled him back. Cesc slammed it down the middle and our place in the FA Cup was rescued.

Despite the lateness of the equaliser, we should have gone on to win. Denilson showed his positive side with a terrific effort that was well saved, and Bendtner shanked another good opportunity woefully wide. We certainly finished well, but it was a huge frustration that it took so long to wake us up. It seems we’re excellent at home if we go into the match full of respect for the opposition, but the minute we think the game will be a breeze, we put in an insipid performance that risks dropped points or an early exit from a cup. Another wake up call for those who think we’ll cruise past Ipswich in the Carling Cup.

The replay isn’t ideal, but realistically, many of those playing in league football at the weekend won’t be featuring, so it will give the fringe players another chance to impress – I don’t expect Wenger to play a radically different side. A kind home draw with Huddersfield would be the reward for going through, which would give the majority of them yet another game.

Our entire squad is going to be required and rotated over the next month. Should we crash out of a cup competition, I sincerely believe it will not be the fault of Wenger for giving the squad players a chance. It will be theirs for not taking it.

  15 Responses to “These players will see a lot of action over the next few weeks – they had better improve”

  1. Re “I sincerely believe it will not be the fault of Wenger for giving the squad players a chance. It will be theirs for not taking it.”

    Well said

  2. I’m amazed you think Arshavin gave his all. To me and most others he looked lazy and disinterested, like he doesn’t want to be there. When subs boards came up he twice tried to take himself off!

    And Denilson is not ‘useful’, he’s an outright liability. You said it yourself, he’s often costly – so how can we countenance his place in our starting 11?

    • I didn’t think Arshavin wanted to be taken off, I just think he expected to – he has rarely completed 90 minutes and is honest enough in himself to realise he was playing poorly.

      For me, he was trying very hard, but his desire to impress wasn’t helping. It looked to me as if he thought scoring would be the best tonic, so he kept taking on efforts from unlikely angles, which were usually blocked.

      I’m not the biggest fan of Denilson, but he does a job in the middle, and an underappreciated one at that. He switches off far too often, but his problem is entirely mental, not talent. That can be drummed out (although it is worrying that it hasn’t yet).

      • I hugely agree with Jekyll…I dont know which player you were watching but it wasnt Arshavin. He hasnt been playing well for nearly a year now and the odd assist or goal that he contributes in the odd game is what has kept him clear of flack so far.

        He definitely is not working hard enough, during the Leeds game there were 3 or 4 occasions where the ball wasnt quite passed directly to him and instead of trying to chase the ball (which on all occasions he had the possibility of reaching/making life difficult for the opposition player) he remained rooted to the spot. He has been lazy for a long time now and should be left out of the team as despite your claim, he is not even offering hard work to the team…pure deadweight at the moment im afraid.

        • I agree that he hasn’t worked hard enough in previous games, don’t get me wrong, but I actually thought he worked pretty hard in the Leeds game, it just wasn’t happening for him.

          Believe me, I share your frustrations with him though.

    • Time to sell the little Russian and make a nice profit but getting rid of Denilson who had two shots on target and made the Leeds keeper work for his matchfee,you got to be joking ,fickle Arsenal fans really have no clue as our two inept wingers cannot get down the flanks and put quality crosses into the box ,for Chamakh and Bendtner to attack,forcing Chamakh to play deep and try get the ball ,to score ,it,s been a season long problem already ,yet the fans cannot see this glaring problem,two wingers who can put in plenty crosses,what,s the problem as Mark Albrighton at Villa is waitng for Arsene,s call ?

  3. wenger admitted the side he picked wasn’t balanced, and that bendtner wasn’t effective out wide so hopefully if he selects the sides more carefully our ‘second team’ will get us through the fa and carling cup games

  4. why oh why are we accepting Niklas Bendtner at our team.. saturday was not a bad performance by his standards i expect NOTHING more every time he takes to the pitch. He throws his arms up in the air evrytime he is not passed to, and then loses the bal every time he gets it! is this acceptable?!?!?!?!!!! :@:@:@:

  5. If Denilson was 10 times better than I give him credit for he would still be a pile of shit. Can only play obvious (sideways and backwards) passes, good dead ball player, can shoot. Can’t run, can’t tackle, can’t head, can’t track back, can’t mark, no positioning ability, can’t read a game. No wonder he is the only uncapped player in that semi- disgraceful showing yesterday. Thank God AW got the subs half right (who he brought on but not who he took off!).

    • I’m not sure if I’d be so willing to degrade a pile of shit so badly. Last season against Stoke in te FA Cup their second goal came from a cross. The player who crossed it was being tracked by Denilson but then after 20 yards he just stopped dead in his tracks. The poor diddums couldn’t hack it. Id never seen anything like it in my whole life. But Wenger can’t see any of these things.

      So when we fail to win another trophy with our sub standrad squad made up mainly of piles of Denilsons, what will Wenger blame then? Youth? Fatigue? Lack of experience? .05% Inefficiency? Little bit lacking in Technical Ability oui oui oui?

      Great managers dont lie they call a spade a spade and are quick to change things if theyre not working. All Wenger does is conceal the shit as if we as fans have’nt a f*ckin clue whats going on.

      We’ve had to put up with a shit goalkeeper for 4 years…Now we’ve to put up with Arshavin the lazy fat fuc*, Denilson who runs like a 40 stone turtle, Nicklas “The Brand” Bendtner who really is pathetic…

      Maybe we should open the Arsenal Circus because the only position we seem to have in abundance is “Clown”.

  6. Yesterday’s team, player by player is a (very) good EPL team. However, it didn’t seem they played well together.
    I’d much prefer to have AW rotate 2 – 4 players every game, more for CC, FA Cup and maybe CL in the early stages. In addition, having a couple of subs on after around 60 minutes will also give more “squad players” some time. It will allow e.g. Vela to have 2 – 3 games in a row, it will rest RvP and other starting XI.
    Starting XI
    Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Clichy
    Song, Wilshere
    Walcott, v Persie, Nasri

    Use this starting XI in the most difficult games, rotate a couple of the players with Ramsey, Diaby, Eboue, Gibbs, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner, Vela, Szczesny, Koscielny, Squillaci, Denilson, JET, Lansbury, Frimpong, etc.

    Try and develop an understanding between a group of players so that we keep the core of the team the same in e.g. CC and FA Cup

    If we are not to use the squad, then they are there only to make a profit when we sell them.

  7. There seems to be a distinct gulf in quality developing between our first XI and our ‘reserves’. If everyone was fit, our first XI would undoubtedly be Fabianski, Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Cesc, Theo, Samir, RvP.
    Apart from maybe Szczesny and Chamakh at a push, no-one else is threatening for a place in the first XI. This isn’t great for the team, competition in the side is incentive for the players to play better, and even though the current first team has been fantastic when they’ve played (ie. against Chelsea, Birmingham), I am worried that they could become too comfortable in their positions.
    Also like to point out that Squillaci worries me every time he plays.

    • Yoy gotta be joking as we have a ball watching clown ,namely Sagna who cannot get past his opposite winger and put over quality crosses for Chamakh ,to head in the goal ,with the other useless Walcott on the same flank dribbling each other instead of getting crosses over to Chamakh ,typical Arsenal fan bs ?

      • You have got to be trying to be daft if you’re singling our Sagna, who has been superb this season, and Walcott, who has improved immeasurably.

  8. Chamakh should start and teh winger should put quanlity crosses. I garantee he will score at least on cross out of 3. He is firce with his head, but we cannot go all the way inside with the ball when we should cross it. Typical Arsenal play and all the teams know how to defend it now.

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